State Department: Soviet Defector Remains In Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE (AP) _ A Soviet tractor company executive who asked for asylum while hospitalized for an overdose of sleeping pills was under federal protection Thursday, the State Department said.
Georgiy Gindra, 48, was granted permission to remain in the United States, said State Department spokesman Charles Redman, speaking in Washington.
Gindra was deputy general director of Belarus Machinery USA Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary in Milwaukee of Tractorexport of Moscow.
″The man was just a businessman, he wasn’t a spy or anything,″ said Smokey Harrison, a Belarus Machinery sales manager. Harrison described him as ″a very pleasant individual.″
Gindra must appeal to the federal Immigration and Naturalization Service for asylum. Larry Rowe, a spokesman for the service in Chicago, said he couldn’t comment on the case.
A State Department official, who asked not to be identified, said Gindra remained in the Milwaukee area, ″under the full protection of U.S. law.″ He said the FBI was handling Gindra’s case.
The State Department ″had been led to believe he’s in a hospital in the Milwaukee area,″ he said, adding that Gindra’s condition was such that he would have remained under the care of a physician.
Gindra, who had been having marital and job problems, took an overdose of sleeping pills at a Holiday Inn in the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls, the Milwaukee Sentinel reported Thursday, quoting unidentified sources.
A Soviet co-worker discovered Gindra and hotel employees notified police and rescue workers.
Gindra was admitted to Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls on Sunday in serious condition, said hospital spokeswoman Mary Jo Ryan. She declined to disclose his ailment.
Gindra was discharged Tuesday night in good condition, Ms. Ryan said, adding she didn’t know where he went from the hospital.
Gindra was a resident of New York and visited Milwaukee once a month on business. His wife, Tatiyana, remained in New York but had given no indication she wanted to remain in the United States, said State Department spokesman Bruce Ammerman.
Brian Bould, the controller for Belarus, described Gindra as ″a typical accountant type ... very fastidious.″
Belarus Machinery assembles Soviet-made tractors in Milwaukee and a second plant in Slidell, La. The company was formed in 1977 and its operations are supervised by the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Trade.